All salesmen are optimistic — it’s in their nature, which is why they are in sales. They honestly believe, till the last hour, that their deal will close. Even when the evidence piles up against them. This creates problems for the manager and, of course, the company.
Having talked with hundreds of customers across multiple industries, my only answer is “It depends.” Value varies from industry to industry, even in the same industry, and no company shares the same. Of course, I am talking about companies who have invested the time to define the threshold of information and interest, measuring both before passing it on to the sales team.
However, all deals are not the same. All customers are not the same, so purchase procedures can differ. Even different salesmen have different judgements about the same deal. How do you evaluate your win chances in a deal? How optimistic are you about your funnel?
More importantly, how do you know the person committing to close a deal this month is right in his optimism? Not to mention the other salesperson, who equally vehemently argues against including his deal in the monthly forecast.
Interest shown by the contact in being approached, it seems, is a big factor behind the deal being taken seriously. Also, the nature of interest matters too. Some would simply want more information to be mailed, while the others might want a visit from the sales person. I know at least one company where professed interest in meeting a sales person is ruthlessly scrutinized because the sales team is senior, and their time is expensive.
Almost all companies have a script for their telecallers, but I have seen most falter in sifting through the tire-kicks and the door-keepers. Sales teams do not like information gatherers — though in some B2B enterprise sales processes, information sharing is a mandatory part of a long sales process.
Not to mention, sales people want to talk to decision-makers and most leads tend to be from folks who are merely gathering data for their bosses. You do not want to be at the mercy of people who are not able to represent your case. In front of decision-makers, though, sometimes you may not have a choice.
Sales people love leads where there is a clear action plan and it is obviously set up at an appropriate decision-making level for the customer. If the lead is from a customer or industry segment which is a logical fit, that obviously helps. If it is not, the telecaller should try and establish the need or the pain-point of the lead.
To summarize, valuable sales leads are defined when a meeting is set up at a decision-making level and a logical product fit can be established. After this is done, the lead can transition to the sales person, who will have a lot more confidence in accepting it. That is when we can legitimately call it a sales deal.
Sales deals have been subjected to “qualification” for a long time. The most popular and long tested method is BANT. It is an acronym that stands for Budget Authority Need Timeframe, which are key parameters that are used to quickly sum up the chances of the deal progressing in the right way.
Now, every organization probably looks at BANT a little differently and that is okay. What they can use is a method of standardization of those parameters, so all deals get a standard score. That makes forecasting easier because it takes individual subjectivity out of the equation.
This makes sense, especially when the team size is too large to keep track of individually. It also helps when the experience levels are vastly different.
Another key area where a deal score helps regarding keeping the sales team focused. When you are new to sales, it can be hard to know what to focus on: The bigger deal, the one further down the road, or the customer who always picks up the phone and agrees to a meeting? A CRM deal score helps achieve these objectives, and your rookie team member will have their priorities set for them.
What do you think? Do you think it makes sense to demand that your CRM gives you some feedback on the funnel, which you can look at objectively? At the end of the day, it benefits everyone involved and streamlines the entire process.
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